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World Professional Billards and Snooker Association
WPBSA
Sport Snooker
Area of jurisdiction International
Headquarters England Bristol
President Barry Hearn
Official website
www.worldsnooker.com/

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA, also known as the World Snooker Association or simply World Snooker for short) is the governing body of world snooker and English Billiards. It is sometimes mistakenly assumed that the "P" in "WPBSA" stands for "Pool", but in fact, the organisation does not include pool in its remit.

Overview

It was founded in 1968 as the Professional Billiard Players' Association. Its subsidiary, World Snooker, is responsible for running and administering snooker’s main ranking circuit events.

These include the Shanghai Masters, Grand Prix, UK Championship, Welsh Open, China Open and the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship. The latter is one of the most famous and popular events on the sporting calendar, with a global audience which runs into hundreds of millions. Staged at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield since 1977, it is the richest, most prestigious and important tournament in snooker. The 2009 event was considered one of the best in the event's history, with a series of exciting matches and a high standard of play. A total of 83 century breaks were made, smashing the old record of 68.

In recent years, World Snooker has been successful in promoting the sport in China, snooker's biggest growth area. Both the Shanghai Masters and China Open (in Beijing) are fully funded by promoters in China; likewise the Jiangsu Classic, an invitation event. Further tournaments are expected to be established as the sport continues to thrive in the Far East. In 2008, World Snooker made inroads into the Middle East by staging the first ever ranking event in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

World Snooker owns and runs an Academy in Sheffield, which is a training centre for talented players from the UK and overseas. Top professionals such as Ding Junhui and Peter Ebdon use it as a base, and it also houses the Paul Hunter Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a promising junior player.

In 2008, World Snooker launched the HotShots campaign, which is aimed at boosting the popularity of the sport among a younger audience, by raising the profiles of emerging talents such as Mark Selby, Mark Allen and Jamie Cope.

The WPSBA is also responsible for organising invitation events such as the Masters. The head office is based in Bristol, England.

The WPBSA is also responsible for the rules and regulations of snooker, including disciplinary matters. The most recent chairman of the WPBSA board was Sir Rodney Walker, until 2 December 2009; the new one is yet to be announced.

The body has received much criticism in the late 2000s. John Higgins has been particularly vocal in his opinion that World Snooker has not done enough to promote the game in new territories, particularly in Eastern Europe. The rival World Series of Snooker was launched by a consortium including Higgins in 2008.[1]

Controversy also occurred when World Snooker scheduled the 2008 Bahrain Championship on dates which clashed with Premier League Snooker matches scheduled five months earlier with World Snooker approval. This causes four leading players (coincidentally including Higgins) to miss the Bahrain event and consequently lose ranking points - Higgins called the clash "laughable"[2] Premier League organiser Barry Hearn commented that "I am very disappointed and I can't understand why World Snooker hasn't discussed dates with us", while Higgins and his manager Pat Mooney threatened legal action over the ranking points situation[3] . In response, World Snooker referred to the Premier League being a 'Third-party promoter', noted that they run events on 11 out of 13 weeks between September and November, and (ignoring the threat of legal action if the players involved broke their Premier League contract) declared that "our members have the freedom of choice to pick which tournaments to participate in". The idea of scheduling the event in free time in January or March, or arranging it in advance of Premier League scheduling, was not mentioned.[4]

World Snooker also has a charitable arm to help players who have fallen on hard times. In 2008 this was investigated for accounting irregularities and the apparent involvement in the decision-making process of World Snooker officials.[5] The decision to decline an application for a grant from Chris Small, a former player who retired due to Ankylosing spondylitis, was also criticised by several of the game's leading figures.[6] World Snooker's commercial interests are managed by IMG, who also own Transworld International, who produce the game's coverage for the BBC.

External links

References

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